BTB Mailer Builds Online Turnout

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Avaya Inc. has generated a 2 percent response rate, twice what it expected, to an integrated direct marketing campaign to promote its first executive-level Internet round-table discussion on customer relationship management.

The campaign began last month to managers and directors of information technology departments as well as senior executives of Fortune 500 companies. Avaya, Basking Ridge, NJ, provides voice and data solutions and software. The round-table discussion was held last week, with 750 attendees. Avaya sent mail pieces to prospects while e-mail messages went to an internal database of current customers.

"When targeting this level of executive we have found that direct mail tends to be more effective," said Jennifer Metz, senior manager of lead generation at Avaya. "And since Sept. 11 we have heard from the people that we target that they believe e-mail has been overused."

The e-mails went to current customers, she said, because they would be more receptive to an e-mail since they were already familiar with the company. The mail piece looked like an invitation. The envelope was sealed with a gold sticker that read, "You are cordially invited." The piece opened to reveal the round-table speakers along with the event's date and time.

A cover letter on a transparent piece of paper outlining the benefits of the round table was included. On the mail piece itself was a list of topics to be covered at the discussion along with a toll-free number and Web address that people could use to register.

Metz would not discuss the total number of pieces sent but said there were more direct mail pieces shipped than there were e-mails. Still, e-mail drew the higher response rate, though she would not break it out.

"We got a good response rate from both the direct mail and e-mail," she said. "But the e-mail was better and that was probably because ... this was not the first time they had contact with us."

A response was categorized as someone who registered for the event.

The creative for both efforts was handled by Kern Direct, Woodland Hills, CA.

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